Autumn in and around The Dysart Petersham

It arrived suddenly with chilly mornings and evenings, yet still with some brilliant and warm sunshine and the promise of an Indian Summer, possibly! Unpredictability is an underrated blessing and very British!

One thing is predictable – we constantly thank our lucky stars that the lights, vast skies and colours of the seasons from our garden and the Park come right inside, always creating glistening plays of light, shadows and reflections, gold and silver, day and evening.

We have marked the change with the first log fire of the season, which seems apt to reflect the changes in colour, light and feel of the season, as nature and we do with Autumn’s ingredients.

It’s part of the feeling of comfort and welcome that needs to come with Autumn.


Whatever the season, we think how lovely it is, enjoy its promise and what it brings: ingredients, colours and flavours, all richer, earthier, more nuanced; lovely Autumnal things are happening in the gardens; here and all around us is nature’s intuitive response to the changing season, from our garden, from the wild, from organic and biodynamic farms, vibrant colours, old fashioned flavours, absolute freshness, roots, fruits, fungi and greens.

We already enjoy our vegetarian and vegan cooking and will be exploring and expanding this over the season.

Brexit,  that terrible confection of a ‘word’,  merely reinforces our natural direction towards everything of our British Isles for the kitchen.  As an example,  all our cheeses are now from Britain and it is wonderful that such special and individual cheesemakers have emerged in this country that we can choose a board with confidence and pleasure.

Mushrooms are in natural abundance this year, a seasonal joy and a rich indulgence now, gathered with respect and modestly, remembering how beautiful they are in nature and looking to our future.

The fresh, optimistic awakening of green in the Spring which so wows us every year is carefully husbanded in time honoured way. Our kitchen has been busy preserving some of this abundance over the year to bring  piquancy and fresh notes to the dishes of Autumn and Winter, just as was always done before supermarkets! Just a few examples are juniper, sloes, elderberries, bilberries and walnuts. We are also curing our own bacon this year from a pig reared by friends in Petersham.


And after the freshness of English wines in Summer it’s great to turn to heavier, richer wines and warming spirits that are so naturally ‘right’ with Autumn flavours and textures.


Over the autumn we have a programme of recitals on our antique grand piano and a wine dinner with a menu we have created around the wines, with the colours and flavours of Autumn.


the sudden explosion of growth in the Spring seems only moments ago. Our hornbeam hedges went from brown leaf and twigs to that special green hornbeam has in all of 4 days and is already ‘crisping’ golden brown. Our own garden flowers and foliage have filled our flower room and The Dysart Petersham throughout the year. The climbing ‘Compassion’ roses on our walls are still rewarding us, through weather thick and thin. Autumn hips are adding new depth and texture. Our flowers have also been a resource enjoyed to feed the new colony of bees welcomed this year to The Dysart, our late sunflowers still being very much enjoyed by them. Our little patch of wild flower meadow came, was enjoyed and is now dormant, but new colours are everywhere and on the turn. We spotted a medlar tree, with gorgeous fruits locally – a definite plan for an addition to the garden as soon as we can find one.

Autumn brings new dimensions to the beauty of Petersham and the Park. Over the year vibrant greens and wild blossoms have yielded to parched gold and back to green, now turning. What does not change is the pleasure in the walks in the woods, the Park, to the river, to Richmond and around the village.

The grand, new gesture of the avenue of elms opposite us is just beginning to show the turn and has added much to the bold shadows and patterns in the strong light that hits the Park, morning and evening.

Kenneth Culhane’s cooking is a beacon in south-west London, his modern approach underpinned by a classical theme and driven by an awareness of the seasons and a grasp of flavour combinations that work” – The Good Food Guide 2019


Barny, Kenneth and the team are very much looking forward to welcoming you and sharing the sensations of Autumn with you here.